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Pork Butt vs. Pork Shoulder...Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

edited 3:10AM in EggHead Forum
I have heard conflicting answers to this question...Is there a difference between a pork butt and a pork shoulder??? I called a few places and they told me their different and a few places told me they are the same thing. Another question, is a "Pork Shoulder Picnic Roast" a pork shoulder? Please help, I wasted too much time this past weekend trying to find out the answers to these questions!


  • beermanbeerman Posts: 2
    were I get mine they are the same price. The butt has a much smaller bone. More meat for the $$$.
  • badbrucebadbruce Posts: 353
    Hu Matty,
    It's my understanding that the butt & the pinic are 2 parts of the same shoulder, the picnic being the shank portion.
    Try the link.

  • badbruce,[p]So which is better tasting, Shank or Butt? When I see a recipe for a pork shoulder is that just a term to be used interchangebly with Pork Butt? I have heard that the shoulder portion is better tasting...I am really confused!
  • Matty,
    I've got most of those pork terms covered in my glossary:[p]The Naked Whiz's Glossary[p]I've heard that the picnic is more flavorful than the butt. But remember, the shoulder is the whole big piece of meat. The butt is one end, the picnic is the other. You cut butts and picnics from the shoulder. [p]TNW

    The Naked Whiz
  • RumrunnerRumrunner Posts: 563
    Matty,[p]The 'whole' pork shoulder (15-20 lbs) consists of the upper part (Boston Butt) and the lower part of the shoulder (the Picnic). You can purchase it whole, however most times it is found in the store separated into the two pieces mentioned above. The difference between Picnics and Boston Butts are the bone structure......the butt has a small shoulder blade bone and the picnic has the front leg bone and joint. The picnic is normally sold with "skin on", whereas the Butt only has a small fat cap. Both have excellent bbq meat, but the Boston Butt has the better value.[p]
  • katmankatman Posts: 331
    Lot of regional preferences in the shoulder/butt debate. Some places cook shoulder to a "sliceable" level; others chop it. Butt usually is pulled. Sometimes it is chopped, but I've never seen anyone trying to sell sliced butt.[p]Both taste good but the texture is different so just buy one and cook it. Then try the other.

  • Matty,[p]I always look to Rumrunner for any clarification as to cuts of meat. I have to agree the Whiz's statement about taste; I much prefer the taste of the picnic. [p]David

  • katmankatman Posts: 331
    goofed on my words a bit earlier. When I said shoulder I should have added "picnic" cause around here it is frequently sold as "whole shoulder--picnic" but without the butt portion. Butt usually goes as "boston butt".

  • BBQfan1BBQfan1 Posts: 562
    They say a picture is worth 1000 words, so here's about 10000 words I wrote on the topic for our website....
    Hope it helps show the difference in the 2 component roasts of the whole shoulder and how each renders out upon smoking/bbq'ing....

  • mulemule Posts: 152
    I always buy the pork picnics and they are always great!! Around my area, they are sometimes on sale for .79 a pound!![p]mule

  • badbrucebadbruce Posts: 353

    Hi Matty,
    Well h*ll, I don't know. I've tried them both, the picnic has more dark meat but it all tastes like pig to me & I like 'em both. Maybe you should ask somebody with a more sophisticated palate as I've spent too many years abusing my taste buds with jalapeno, habenero & assorted illegal substances.

  • Wow, I had no idea this could be so confusing!!! Ok, I think I've got it now! The Shoulder is 2 sections the butt and the picnic. Man, who knew bbq'ing could be so friggin' complicated!!!

  • SigmoreSigmore Posts: 621
    Matty, I like them both, but for the best bang for your buck, I prefer the butt. I always get a better % of end product with the BB than I do with the PS. My 2¢.

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